Marlins 8 Mets 7
The assumption was that if the Mets could jump out to an early lead, the Marlins would go to the fish tank and roll over. And the Mets did hit the scoreboard first, thanks to a two-run double by Moises Alou in the initial inning and a David Wright double that drove in Jose Reyes in the second.
However, Tom Glavine did not have his best stuff. In fact, he was borderline terrible. But somehow, he worked out of trouble in each of the first four innings without damage. Finally, he ran out of gas in the fifth, allowing four runs — three of them via a homerun by Miguel Cabrera. Through five, Glavine allowed 4 runs on 11 hits and a walk.
After the second, the Mets couldn’t reach home against Dontrelle Willis, who struggled nearly as mightily as Glavine, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk through six.
The Marlins bullpen took over in the seventh, but the Mets couldn’t do anything against them. The New York offense put together an awful set of at-bats in the seventh — with Jose Reyes and Lastings Milledge swinging at bad pitches — and repeated with more atrocious at-bats in the eighth. Only David Wright and Moises Alou looked like they had a clue — everyone else went up to the plate like it was their first MLB at-bat and Sandy Koufax was on the mound.
In the ninth, Paul LoDuca led off with a double through the right-center gap, and was replaced on second base by Carlos Gomez. Ruben Gotay screwed up two sacrifice attempts, then bounced a grounder to shortstop. The speedy Gomez took off for third — in my mind a TERRIBLE baserunning blunder — but somehow beat the throw from Hanley Ramirez to third. With runners on the corners, hot-hitting Shawn Green (who looked so full of confidence he might burst) walked on four pitches, loading the bases for Jose Reyes. Naturally, Reyes took a terrible cut on the first pitch — a curveball in the dirt — for strike one. Keeping with his current M.O., he waved wildly at the second pitch, a slider in the dirt. Predictably, he swung through a third slider in the dirt for strike three. Marlon Anderson was paying attention, however, and took the first two pitches — making it a dozen consecutive pitches thrown out of the strike zone by closer Kevin Gregg. The next two pitches were over the middle, however, and Anderson swung through them. Anderson then took ball three, filling the count with the bases filled as well. Gregg’s next pitch was blasted off the right-center fence, clearing the bases and landing SuperMarlon on third (he missed the Mets’ first grand slam of the year by about five feet). David Wright was retired for the first time all night for out number two, but Carlos Beltran FINALLY came through with a two-out RBI, putting the Mets up by three.
But where was Billy Wagner to close it out? Pedro Feliciano started the bottom of the ninth, gave up a single to leadoff hitter Jeremy Hermida, and was replaced by Jorge Sosa. Sosa promptly allowed a double to “All World” Cabrera, putting runners on second and third. And where was Wagner? Both runners scored on grounders as the Mets were trading runs for outs, but the second out was not to be as David Wright — who made a fine diving stop — threw the ball away (this proved to be a crucial error). It was then one out, man on first, and a one-run game — and where was Wagner? The next batter, Cody Ross, worked the count full before dropping a Texas Leaguer two inches inside the leftfield foul line for a double. This put runners on second and third with one out, and down by one run (where was … oh, never mind!). Matt Treanor bounced a grounder to Jose Reyes for the second out, but the tying run scored in the process. Jason Wood popped up for the third out, but the damage was done. Meantime, the scoreboard flashed the final score in D.C. — Phillies 7 Nats 6.
The Mets couldn’t do anything with a leadoff walk by Jeff Conine in the 10th, but the Fish had no problems in the bottom of the frame. Hanley Ramirez led off with a broken-bat, infield single that bounced about fifty times before reaching Reyes at short. At that point, it was only a matter of time, with Cabrera due up eventually. However, the game didn’t have to go that long, as Dan Uggla — instead of bunting Ramirez to second — blasted a ball off the leftfield wall, scoring Ramirez from first.
Phillies are back within one and a half games.
What a waste of another ENORMOUS, dramatic, hugely clutch hit by Marlon Anderson.
Milledge was started off with a sharp curve on the outside corner of the plate in his seventh inning at-bat, and barked at home plate ump Jim Joyce when it was (correctly) called a strike. Milledge clearly lost his focus, and popped up the next pitch — a fastball around his eyes. The flyout ended the inning, but Milledge kept running his mouth at Joyce (not quoting Ulysses, I’m sure) and was tossed from the game. Unbelievably, Milledge exited the dugout to run back on the field and argue two more times in the next five minutes — which no doubt will earn him a suspension. His loss of control was aggravating on several levels. First of all, the pitch in question was definitely a strike. Second, a youngster such as Milledge should keep quiet the first few years in the league — otherwise be labeled quickly around the circuit as a troublemaker (and invite unfavorable calls from all umps). Third, his tirade was inappropriate for someone who has been with the team for less than three months. Rather than inspire his teammates, Milledge embarrassed them, and as a result he likely has lost a bit of the respect he had started to gain from his peers. A shame, really, because LMillz was starting to shed that “bad boy” image.
Florida pounded out 20 hits, while the Mets managed only nine — three of them by David Wright (two of them doubles).
Alou’s two-run double extended his hitting streak to 24 games.
After Cabrera’s blast, the SNY cameras showed him getting congratulated in the dugout by a little kid who I thought might be someone’s 13-year-old brother or the ball boy. It turned out to be Alfredo Amezaga — who with his new mop-top doo looks too young for PONY League.
When is someone going to tell Ruben Gotay to hit lefty all the time — even against lefties?
Both Gotay and Gomez failed miserably — and looked terrible — in their sacrifice bunt attempts. A ballplayer who cannot drop a bunt has only himself to blame — it doesn’t take any special skill, only the desire to be good at it and the willingness to put in the repetitions in practice. Shame on both non-sluggers for not being better sacrifice bunters.
The Mets and Marlins do it again at 7:05 PM. Pedro Martinez takes the mound against Scott Olsen. Pedro is right at home in the Miami heat and humidity, a point that may fuel his continued hot pitching.